Defund Planned Parenthood Act proves Congress’s priorities off kilter

The Republican controlled House of Representatives passed a one year moratorium on Planned Parenthood Friday, Sept. 18, with a 241-187 majority vote, proving that Congress’s priorities are completely out of whack.

The Defund Planned Parenthood Act would eradicate tax payer funding for the women’s health organization if it passes in the Senate, however President Obama has pledged to veto the bill if this is the case.

According to its annual report, the organization received approximately $528 million in taxpayer funds last year through the Medicaid and Title X programs. However, of that $528 million federal funding, not one dollar of it goes towards providing abortions. Title X doesn’t allow it.

“None of the federal funding in question goes to abortion or to fetal tissue donation programs, although the National Institutes of Health does fund research on fetal tissue,” reported MSNBC on Friday.

Abortions that are performed are covered by state funding or Medicaid only in cases determined to be “medically necessary,” or in cases of rape or incest, as per the Hyde Amendment of 1977.

Why are we even arguing about this? Sept. 30 is the deadline for Congress to decide government funding for the next fiscal year, and if this Planned Parenthood debate is drawn out past that date, it will likely result in a government shutdown. So is it really worth it?

Supporters of the bill say it is a positive move forward in the pro-life movement, while many opponents, including democratic candidates, have called the bill an attack on women’s health.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the Congressional Budget Office determined as many as 650,000 women (about 25 percent of Planned Parenthood’s clients) would lose access to care that the organization provides, including counseling services, contraceptive education, cancer screenings and testing for sexually transmitted diseases. These are the services at risk of loss if Planned Parenthood loses its federal funding, not abortion. These are the services essential to women’s health that congressional Republicans are threatening to take away.

I propose a compromise, conservatives. If you want to eliminate federal funding for abortions (which is not even really a thing), let us take that federal funding and invest it in required comprehensive, medically accurate sex education. When women are provided access to contraception education and coverage, the amount of unwanted pregnancies is reduced.

This has been proven, by the way, in Colorado, where teen pregnancy is down 40 percent and abortion is down 42 percent since the state began providing long acting contraceptives through the Colorado Family Planning Initiative.

It sounds like a win-win, right? If only there were an organization that already worked to provide this sex education and contraceptive coverage to women of low-income status or without health insurance. Well, there already is: Planned Parenthood.

So you see, Republicans, your argument makes no sense. By proposing the elimination of funding for this organization, you remove its ability to prevent the one thing you hate that it provides. End this oxymoronic debate and let Planned Parenthood do what it does best, which is providing access to essential healthcare for women.